Americans are expected to dole out a total of $5.8 billion on Halloween, an increase of nearly a billion dollars over last year, according to the National Retail Federation. This represents a return to 2008’s Halloween spending levels and marks an opportunity for Halloween-themed businesses to wring some dollars from trick or treating before the scary season gives way to Christmas carols and gift-giving. Here's what seven 'scary' firms have to offer:
The 106th World Series, featuring the Rangers and Giants, is underway. With the help of MLB.com and Baseball-reference.com, we've come up with a quiz to test your knowledge of World Series history. You'll find answers to questions on subsequent pages and on the last page of the quiz.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
A new ranking by Kiplinger's Personal Finance examines the best private colleges in America and then sifts them for best value. Which gives you the best education for the lowest net cost – the cost of tuition and fees after financial aid? Here are the Top 10 best values:
Strictly speaking, we're all one-way time travelers: plodding forward through the progress of existence second-by-second. And thanks to special relativity, you could, in principle, skip ahead into the future by traveling at a very high speed relative to your contemporaries. But that, too, would be a one-way trip. As for travel back in time? Some physicists cautiously speculate that it is possible, but only time will tell. In the meantime, here are our top ten favorite fictional time travelers.
A college degree pays off financially and intangibly for the graduate – and for society at large, says a report from the College Board. Here are 10 top benefits:
A tsunami triggered by a 8.9-magnitude earthquake swamped Japan's northeast coast Friday, picking up cars, ships and houses as it surged as much as three miles inland. The wave generated by the quake, whose epicenter was 80 miles offshore of Sendai, was as high as 30 feet in some spots. There is no official death toll yet, but Japanese officials reported that as many as 300 people have been killed in the city of Sendai alone. But despite the alarming footage of entire houses moving across land, this most recent tsunami was relatively small in size compared to others throughout history. Here are the five of the worst tsunamis on record.
Gift cards are supposed to be the easy answer for that person on your holiday list who has everything. But with $30 billion worth of cards unredeemed, there’s clearly something wrong. Here are four tips if you’re stuck with one you’ll never use – or thinking of buying one for someone else.
Characters whose lives are altered by their inability to grasp the whole picture link three of this fall's most highly praised novels – although that's about the only thing they have in common. In one, a young mother goes to extraordinary lengths to protect her son; in another, an English couple go on vacation and find themselves in way over their heads; while in the third, a writer mourns the loss of a desk that has passed through many hands.
On Tuesday the academic journal Science released an assessment of the survival chances of the world's vertebrates. Working off of the International Union for Conservation of Nature "Red List," which measures extinction risks, the journal analyzed the level of danger for more than 25,000 species. Science found that one-fifth of all species are classified as threatened and that proportion is increasing.
World Series number 106, between the Texas Rangers and San Francisco Giants, gets underway in 'The City by the Bay' Wednesday night. This will be the 19th time the Giants franchise qualified for the World Series. With help from sanfranciscogiants.com, take our quiz and put your Giants knowledge to the test. Answers to questions can be found on subsequent pages and on the final question page.
Mount Merapi, located near Yogyakarta, Indonesia, is one of the country's most volatile volcanoes. It began erupting at dusk on Tuesday, and thousands evacuated the area surrounding it. It didn't come as a shock, as scientists have been expecting an eruption for a while. Here are some of the world's most active volcanoes.
The 2010 Corruption Perceptions Index, released annually by Transparency International, shows northern Europe continues to be perceived as the world's least corrupt region, with six countries taking the top 10 spots. The island-state of Singapore climbed into first place this year with New Zealand and Denmark. The United States fell behind Chile and into 22nd place, marking the first time it failed to rank in the top 20. Russia ranked worst among global powers, falling from 146th place to 154th place, tied with Cambodia. Nearly three quarters of the 178 countries in the index were below five on a scale of 0 (high corruption) to 10 (low corruption). That means not just the following countries have a corruption problem.
Top Saddam Hussein aide Tariq Aziz, sentenced to hang Tuesday, was one of 55 people featured in the notorious decks of playing cards handed out to American forces when they invaded Iraq. The cards featured the most-wanted members of Sadaam’s government. Aziz’s sentencing warrants a look at where those aces and kings are today.
Election 2010 has no shortage of nail-biters. According to The Cook Political Report, eight Senate races and – amazingly – 17 gubernatorial races remain toss-ups. While this list leaves off a few of those (the Senate races in Washington, Alaska, and Kentucky, for instance), here’s what’s going on in 10 of the closest statewide elections:
Most of the time we use the phrase "fashion police," we don't mean it literally. But in many places around the world, your sartorial choices can get you fined, imprisoned, or worse. Here is our list of the top 10 banned fashions.
The World Series, featuring the Rangers and Giants, starts Wednesday night in San Francisco. With the help of texasrangers.com, we'd like to test what you know about the American League champions. You'll find answer for the previous question on following page – and at the end of the quiz.
In the largest document leak in US history, WikiLeaks has released more than 400,000 secret US documents about the Iraq war. As with the second-largest leak in US history – the 92,000 Afghan war documents released in July – much of the substance of the leaks has been reported already, but details are new. Click through the following slides to learn what the documents reveal.
From demon sheep to witchcraft denials, this has been one crazy election season. And nowhere has the looniness been more on display than in the candidates' carefully crafted TV spots. Here is our list of the top 10 weirdest ads of 2010.
What's selling best in independent bookstores across America.
College costs are not only what you pay up front, but also what debt you carry into the future. The class of 2009 graduated with an average of $24,000 in debts from student loans, up 6 percent from the previous year, according to a report Thursday from The Project on Student Debt in Oakland, Calif. But the report also identifies 20 four-year public and private nonprofit colleges where graduates took on the least amount of debt – an average of $3,000 to $8,500.
As NPR's Juan Williams learned when he was fired Thursday for comments that were taken to be anti-Muslim, the axe is swift to fall when media personalities speak out on controversial topics. Here is his story and those of five others recently ousted for voicing unpopular views.
Setting off speculation that China is manipulating exports to punish certain trade partners, Beijing announced in July it was slashing its six-month export quota of so-called 'rare earths' by 72 percent. Speculation continued this week with reports of an expanding embargo of the minerals. But the so-called "rare earths" are neither rare nor does China have a lock on them. Although China produces 97 percent of the world's rare earths, it contains only 30 percent of the world's supply. The United States, Russia, and Australia all have significant reserves of the 17 elements essential in semiconducters, lasers, and other high-tech gadgets. While mining them has proved uneconomical at usual world prices and environmentally harmful, that may be changing. Click through the following slides to read how rare earths are important to your daily life.
At its Oct. 20 event, Apple rolled out two new MacBook Air laptops, a slew of updates for its iLife suite, and a sneak peak at the next OS X upgrade, Lion. This new coat of polish for Apple's computer line comes at a time of rapid growth for the Mac. In the last few years, Apple has transitioned from a computer company that made mobile devices to a mobile-device company that makes computers. Last quarter, Apple shipped 14.1 million iPhones, 4.1 million iPads, and just 3.89 million Macs. Still, Mac sales have grown 2.5 times faster than the rest of the PC industry, according to the company. Wednesday's event tried to reassure Mac fans that the company stands firmly behind its computers, and convince mobile converts that many of the things they love about iPhones and iPad will soon appear in computers. Click the blue arrows to learn how.
Britain announced budget cuts Wednesday that are part of a five-year austerity plan and the largest public spending reductions since World War II. Cuts will average 19 percent for most departments, but welfare benefits take a strong hit and some departments' budgets will be trimmed by as much as 23 percent.